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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 137057 Find in a Library
Title: Pretrial Drug Testing
Author(s): C A Visher
Corporate Author: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
US Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
United States of America
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
Washington, DC 20531
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Pretrial drug testing of suspected offenders at arrest and during the period before trial is a relatively new practice, and both Federal and State criminal justice systems are debating the merits and drawbacks of establishing pretrial drug testing programs.
Abstract: Concerns raised about pretrial drug testing include the utility of such programs in reducing pretrial arrests and increasing court appearances, the accuracy of testing procedures, possible constitutional challenges to drug testing at the pretrial stage, and costs associated with operating pretrial drug testing programs. A program in Washington, D.C., is based on research showing that the most frequent serious offenders are also the heaviest drug users. Moreover, for many drug-involved offenders, criminal activity appears to rise or decline with the level of drug use, particularly heroin and cocaine. The District of Columbia's pretrial drug testing program has two components: (1) detection of drug use by testing arrestees prior to the initial court appearance and release decision; and (2) monitoring drug use among released defendants by regular testing as a condition of release. Drug test results from the District program appear to improve a judge's ability to assess reliably the likelihood of a defendant's pretrial misconduct. Whether regular testing reduces rearrest and failure to appear (FTA) rates for all released drug users, however, is questionable. Evaluations of pretrial drug testing programs in other jurisdictions, including New York City, Miami, Arizona, Wisconsin, Maryland, and Oregon, indicate that drug tests at the time of arrest may be useful in pretrial release decisionmaking but that such tests may not equally predict rearrest and FTA in all jurisdictions. In making decisions about the implementation of pretrial drug testing programs, policymakers and criminal justice officials must consider expected utility, implementation issues, local circumstances, value to the community, and costs. Logistical difficulties in and the future of pretrial drug testing are discussed. 19 notes and 3 exhibits
Main Term(s): Pretrial drug testing
Index Term(s): Arizona; District of Columbia; Drug offenders; Florida; Maryland; New York; Oregon; Recidivism; Wisconsin
Note: National Institute of Justice Research in Brief
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